Sunday, August 8, 2004

The Further Adventures of Spider-Cat

It's better to be lucky than good, although it helps have natural talent in either case.

While our vet knows our smaller boy as Whitey, he has other names. Strictly speaking, Whitey is a nickname for James, although we think him of more as Pavlov. He's also Thing 2 to Billy's Thing 1, usually when we're in "Who was that masked cat?" mode after we didn't get a positive id of a speeding feline.

Whitey is also Spider-Cat, because he climbs better than Billy and enjoys it more; if a cat is in a condo penthouse, usually it will be Spider-Cat. He's the also sort that would just as soon climb the outside carpeted wall of a cat condo to get up top than to work from platform to platform. Sometimes he falls, but not often. His honed climbing skills were important today.

Some Background: if you take a close look at the recent picture of the boys doing Cat Fu, a gap exists to the left of railing at the top of the stairs. This carpet covered cliff unnerved us when the boys first arrived, as having a kitten go off it to fall eight feet to the first floor would not improve his health. Katherine actually blocked it off with cardboard. However, the cardboard didn't stay put, and once we realized the kittens also fit between the railing balusters (uprights), we let the boys' natural balance and common sense guard them instead.

Some guard.

I pitched batting practice on the stairs this morning, and as it wound down the boys worked their way to the top of the stairs, with Billy nearer the condo and Whitey by the wall. I tossed a ball up onto the second floor, and first Billy and then Whitey batted at it. Whitey actually turned away from the stairs to get in the corner where the wall cuts away to make room for the railing (and lack there of), and then stepped back from the ball to bat it.

This caused Whitey to go backwards off the cliff, with me just far enough away down the stairs I couldn't reach for him, especially with the bannister in the way. Like a human trying to save himself, he scrambled a bit. Unlike a human, he stopped. Not gave up, but stopped dropping, even though two-thirds of him was dangling in mid-air. The reason was clear, he had all ten fore claws firmly anchored in the rug. Whitely was sufficiently calm about it to pause for a heartbeat (I suspect to check his purchase) before he smoothly pulled himself back up to the second floor.

It was kitty treats for both boys.

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